By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)February 14, 2013
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Col. Brent Bolander, commander of Anniston Army Depot, addressed the quarterly meeting of the Anniston Satellite of the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the United States Army Tuesday.
The meeting, held at the depot's DeSoto Pastime Center served as an introduction of Bolander to the AUSA chapter and enabled him to give the group an overview of the installation and its current operations.
"I have been given the opportunity to help run this depot and it is a very humbling experience," said Bolander. "But, this facility is not my depot, it is our depot."
Bolander said he has been impressed with the depot's workforce throughout his time at the installation, noting the courage employees display while supporting the warfighters.
He briefly touched on the types of vehicles and equipment overhauled and repaired by the depot workforce, showcasing the fact that ANAD is a center for technical excellence for both tracked combat vehicles and small arms.
After discussing the depot's missions, Bolander discussed the amount of work the depot performed in fiscal year 2012, comparing it to the projected workloads for FY13 and FY14.
In FY12, ANAD's workload was composed of 3.7 million direct labor hours. The same number was projected for FY13 and a decrease to 2.2 million is projected for FY14.
He noted the fiscal uncertainty stemming from the budget debates in Congress may change the FY13 and FY14 numbers.
"I will say we have some challenges ahead. They are no different than the challenges of the past 71 years," said Bolander. "The real question will be how it works itself out."
Adding that no member of the depot leadership is able to foresee what the depot's future will hold, Bolander said most of the installation's temporary wokers would probably leave when their work agreements expire.
"The truth changes. I would like nothing more than to turn to every member of the workforce and tell them with certainty what is going to happen," said Bolander. "What bothers me the most is that these employees have been loyal to their country. Some of these folks have been on four, five, six and seven years."
Bolander outlined many of the things the depot is doing, and has done, to be more efficient.
He outlined energy initiatives, such as various solar projects, geothermal heating and cooling systems, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified buildings on the installation and the fact ANAD has been working to reduce the number of toxic chemicals used in its overhaul and repair processes.
Public Private Partnerships are also part of the depot's future viability. Bolander said P3 initiatives strengthen both the private industry organization as well as the depot.
"No matter how massive an organization is, there is always something you don't have the capabilitity to do and that is where the partnership comes in. They do have the capability," said Bolander.
These partnerships also allow the private industry and the depot's workforce to learn best practices from each other and enhance their own capabilities accordingly.
"Every day we find ways to make ourselves better," said Bolander.
Bolander briefly touched on the way the depot cares for its surrounding community, as well as ways the community takes care of the depot.
He highlighted the recent Combined Federal Campaign, which raised more than $340,000 for non-profit organizations and the annual Christmas Cheer program, which allows employees to sponsor children in protective custody at the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources as well as installation families in need.
The depot also cares for the surrounding community through quarterly blood drives, a mentoring program, an Adopt-a-School agreement with Coldwater Elementary School and the Army Emergency Relief program.
In return, the community shows their appreciation and support to the depot through sponsorships at events like the annual Community Appreciation Day and through the Chamber of Commerce.